Four Outstanding Educators Spotlighted at San Marino Day

Photo by Carin Yates / OUTLOOK School representatives with the Outstanding Educator Award recipients include Valentine Principal Colleen Shields with teacher Laura Pollard; SMHS Principal Mary Johnson with counselor Mollie Beckler; Mayor Dr. Richard Sun; Carver Principal Michael Lin with counselor Linda Kuchmecki; HMS Principal Jason Kurtenbach with Computer Lab Director Quoc Hoang; and acting President of the Huntington Library Steve Hindle. See additional photos, page 8.
Photo by Carin Yates / OUTLOOK
School representatives with the Outstanding Educator Award recipients include Valentine Principal Colleen Shields with teacher Laura Pollard; SMHS Principal Mary Johnson with counselor Mollie Beckler; Mayor Dr. Richard Sun; Carver Principal Michael Lin with counselor Linda Kuchmecki; HMS Principal Jason Kurtenbach with Computer Lab Director Quoc Hoang; and acting President of the Huntington Library Steve Hindle. See additional photos, page 8.

The MVPs for each of San Marino Unified School District’s four schools were honored before the attendees of San Marino Day at the Huntington Library last week.
Each received an award as an “Outstanding Educator” from the district and the city, and will be rewarded with $1,250 each to go toward a project or program at their school.
Recipients were Mollie Beckler, a counselor at San Marino High School; Quoc Hoang, the computer lab director at Huntington Middle School; Linda Kuchmecki, counselor at Carver Elementary School; and Laura Pollard, physical education teacher at Valentine Elementary School.
Beckler began her career with SMHS in 1984 as the department chair for its special education department and, for the last 20 years, has served as a counselor and senior class adviser for the school. She said she was honored to receive the distinction last week.
“It’s actually fun watching cycle after cycle of children with all of the innovations in technology and teaching,” Beckler said. “It’s fun to watch the progression and to watch students to come back and see their success.”
Hoang, a six-year HMS employee, earned effusive praise for his efforts to improve the school’s technological capabilities and involve its students in it. He singlehandedly revamped the HMS auditorium and regularly trains students on running the equipment for musical and drama productions.
He also has helped launch additional extracurricular activities, such a new audio-visual club or “League of Legends” video game club, that make him popular among students.
“All of them congratulated me on this last week,” Hoang said of his students.
Kuchmecki serves as Carver’s sole guidance counselor and has come to know virtually every student in the school. She was lauded as someone who always goes the extra mile and never seeks recognition for it.
“I’m honored but I’m also humbled,” she said. “I feel like there are so many dedicated teachers who deserve to be up there with the rest of us.”
Pollard, in her 25th year as the “powerful education” teacher (as her principal, Colleen Shields, called her), was portrayed as someone ubiquitous with Valentine.
“It was really special,” she said on being honored. “I felt very honored and humbled. It was really well done and made us all feel really special.”

Leave a Reply